A small 15 percent of women receive detailed information about their career paths, revealed the Working Mother Research Institute, while 49 percent of men received information about the same in the last 2 years. Moreover, 54 percent of men discussed their career decision with a mentor, as compared to 39 percent of women which means that women aren't getting enough sponsors who look and think like them.
Sponsors help advance careers, mentors support careers
While men are being encouraged to advocate for women in the professional realm, many of them are wary of doing so in the aftermath of the #MeToo movement and as a result, men are avoiding professional relationships with women, especially anything involving one-on-one mentoring. This topic was even highly discussed at the most recent World Economic Forum and while there are many things that men can do for their women colleagues at work, sponsorship and mentoring have been shown to make the biggest difference. According to Harvard Business Review, 'Sponsors, by definition, use their position and power to achieve business objectives by advancing a protégé’s career. They are not benevolent benefactors. They are influential leaders who intentionally invest in, and rely on, the skills and contributions of their protégés to achieve their own goals and their protégé’s highest potential... while mentors may or may not have the same level of power as sponsors, they frequently have a great deal more influence than they actually use. We regularly see mentors who support their mentees privately but are reluctant to advocate for them.'
Sponsors at work must intentionally look for women with high talent
If organizations want to make their business even more successful than ever then they must work hard to develop sponsors to diversify all levels of the workplace. Therefore, sponsors at work must intentionally look for women with high talent so that they can fast-track them into senior roles and if that can't find any on their own, they must ask HR professionals and senior leaders to help them out. Sponsors must also encourage them to achieve high-profile assignments and must be able to support them throughout while providing additional opportunities to develop them holistically even further. In addition to this, sponsors and mentors must give women valuable feedback which is honest and performance-based. 'For example, instead of feedback like “Be more assertive,” an example of actionable feedback is: “When the client raised these types of objections, acknowledge their concerns but come back in with specific examples of other clients for whom these factors have not been an issue. This will help you close more business.”' Also, women must get the recognition they deserve for a job well done, there's nothing like an appreciation to boost the confidence of women which will carry over towards the success of the entire company.
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